Over the past fortnight there have been many commemorative events around the country and abroad to mark the bi-centenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire and the BBC has given extensive coverage to them both in news and documentary programmes.
This has not been universally popular with audiences - there have been accusations that the BBC has taken a position on issues such as whether there should be an apology - though it's not clear who would apologise to who - or whether descendents of slaves should be paid reparations in some form.
A lot of the audience were telling us slavery is in the past and should stay there, that there is no need for apologies or reparations and some told us to stop flagellating ourselves. Here are a couple of examples.
- So the self-loathers at the BBC are having a great time this week. It seems the dg's idea of heaven is to be horse whipped by a black man… The Europeans simply cashed in on a trade which was well established in Africa.
- There's been very little coverage about Africa's involvement with the slave trade… Total PC nonsense.
Few would argue that it was not an important moment in the history of Britain, and also that it marked the beginning of the end of the enslavement of Africans by Europeans and Americans; it was also an important moment in the development of what are known today as human rights.
In this sense, the BBC did make an editorial judgement that it was an important anniversary to mark, but it is important to remember that the commemorative events by governments, local authorities, museums, etc, were not been run by the BBC and we were - along with other broadcasters and newspapers - covering them as news events.
On The World Tonight, our coverage has focussed not on the history of slavery, but on the survival of practices today which are basically forms of enslavement, such as bonded child labour in India.
Indeed a report by our Delhi Correspondent, Damian Grammaticas, this Wednesday (listen here) provoked an interesting debate in our editorial meetings. His report, which focussed on a boy who was working as a bonded labourer ended with the boy being freed from that bonded labour, but faced with an uncertain future, because it was unclear how his family would make ends meet without the low wages he was paid.
Some of us believe we had become too involved in the story and our reporting had led to significant changes in this boy's life and we should have stuck to traditional neutral reporting.
The dilemma faced by our correspondent was that once the boy's case was brought to the attention of the authorities in the course of his investigation into what under Indian law is illegal, the boy could not continue working in the workshop he was bonded to, and the alternative to continuing with the investigation would have been to drop it.
So what would have been more honourable? To not report on an illegal practice that enslaves many children, or to report on it and cause a change in a child's life that leaves him with an uncertain future.
Our correspondent will also follow up on the story, partly out of human interest, but also to see if the local authorities fulfil their responsibility to help his rehabilitation.
It seems there is no consensus on this among journalists on the ethics of this and I'm not sure what the audience think, although we had some e-mails offering to help the boy featured in the report.